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Change (Peace, Love & Unity) is in the Air ... Time to GET IT !
You are ready for your Ascension? (Kryon Update: Apr 2014)

(Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - website / spaceweather.com)


Cairo Sky
“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hamas, Fatah reach deal on unity government, Israel reacts sharply

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he has to choose between peace with Israel or Hamas. It comes after Hamas and Fatah agreed to a unity government.

Deutsche Welle, 23 April 2014


Militant group Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) have agreed to form a technocrat unity government, according to a joint statement by the two groups.

"An agreement has been reached on the formation within five weeks of an independent government headed by president Mahmud Abbas," the statement said.

The announcement came after Fatah and Hamas started their first reconciliation talks since 2007 when Hamas - an opponent to US-led peace talks with Israel - was voted into power in Gaza.

The agreement could pave the way for elections and a national strategy towards Israel. It could give Abbas some degree of sovereignty in Gaza but also help Hamas, which is hemmed in by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, to become less isolated.

It is unclear, however, whether the unity government will be established, as Hamas and Fatah have failed to implement a 2011 Egyptian-brokered unity deal aimed at ending the political divide between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank.

Sharp rebuke from Israel

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu reacted sharply to the news, as the apparent unity deal coincides with meetings between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to try to extend the US-sponsored peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline.

"Does he (Abbas) want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel?," Netanyahu said to reporters on Wednesday.

"You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace. So far he hasn't done so," he said.

Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said in a statement that Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority that exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, "cannot make peace both with Israel and Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for Israel's destruction".

Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeineh, however, said Palestinian unity was an internal matter.

"Abbas chooses peace and the unity of the Palestinian people," Abu Rdeineh said. "The choice of unifying the Palestinian people enforces peace, and there is no contradiction whatsoever between reconciliation and negotiations."

US-led peace talks stalled

The US-led peace talks reached a stalemate when Israel refused to release a fourth and final group of Palestinian prisoners, in line with an earlier agreement. Since then, both sides have made demands the other deems unacceptable.

Over the weekend, Palestinian negotiators warned they may hand responsibility for governing the occupied territories back to Israel and dismantle he Palestinian Authority, if the Jewish state fails to release the prisoners and freeze settlement building.

But Israel says the demands are unacceptable. "He who makes such conditions does not want peace," an Israeli official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

ng/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

Monday, April 21, 2014

S.Sudan rebels slaughter 'hundreds' in ethnic massacres: UN

Yahoo – AFP, 21 April 2014

South Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers patroling the town of
Bentiu, on January 12, 2014 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

Juba (AFP) - Rebel gunmen in South Sudan massacred "hundreds" of civilians because of their ethnicity when they captured a key oil town last week, the UN said Monday, calling for a probe into one of the worst reported atrocities in the war-torn nation.

In the main mosque alone, "more than 200 civilians were reportedly killed and over 400 wounded," the UN mission in the country said. Civilians including children were also massacred at a church, hospital and an abandoned UN World Food Programme compound, it said.

Toby Lanzer, the top UN aid official in the country, told AFP after visiting the town of Bentiu he had witnessed the "most terrible sight".

"There are piles of bodies lining the streets where they had been executed, in the market, outside and inside places of worship... the majority wearing civilian clothes," he said.

Fighters took to the radio to urge men to rape women from the opposition ethnic group and said rival groups should be forced from the town, the UN said.

South Sudan's army has been fighting rebels loyal to sacked vice president Riek Machar, who launched a renewed offensive this month targeting key oil fields.

The conflict has an ethnic dimension, pitting President Salva Kiir's Dinka tribe against militia forces from Machar's Nuer people.

UN human rights investigators said that after rebels wrested Bentiu from government forces in heavy battles last Tuesday, the gunmen spent two days hunting down those who they believed opposed them.

The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) "strongly condemns these targeted killings," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

"The mission calls for these atrocities to be fully investigated and for the perpetrators and their commanders to be held accountable," he added.

Reminding the government and rebels of their obligation to protect civilians, Dujarric said the mission "calls on them to immediately cease targeting unarmed civilians" and to respect a January ceasefire that has fallen to pieces.

Both South Sudanese and Sudanese -- some from the war-torn Darfur region -- were killed, UNMISS said.

Peacekeepers are photographing those killed to provide documentation before burial, Lanzer said, with video footage shot by UN workers showing digger machines loaded with corpses.

Hate radio urged rape 

"They (the rebels) searched a number of places where hundreds of South Sudanese and foreign civilians had taken refuge, and killed hundreds of the civilians after determining their ethnicity or nationality," the UN statement said.

Map locating Bentiu, a key oil town in South Sudan (AFP Photo)

Some rebels took to local radio to "broadcast hate messages declaring that certain ethnic groups should not stay in Bentiu, and even calling on men from one community to commit vengeful sexual violence against women from another community," it added.

Shortly after the town was captured rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Koang praised the "gallant forces" for completing "mopping and cleaning up operations in and around Bentiu".

At the Kali-Ballee mosque, where hundreds had taken shelter, the rebels "separated individuals of certain nationalities and ethnic groups and escorted them to safety, while the others were killed," the UN report said.

At the hospital, "several Nuer men, women and children were killed for hiding and declining to join other Nuers who had gone out to cheer" the rebels as they entered the town, the UN said.

Similar killings were reported at the Catholic church and World Food Programme compound.

Peacekeepers later rescued more than 500 civilians, many of them wounded, from the hospital and other sites, as well as guarding "thousands" of civilians as they continue to stream towards the UN base, where more than 22,000 people are now crammed in for shelter in desperate conditions.

"Those in the camp have less than a litre (quart) of water per person per day, and that is simply not enough in the heat of South Sudan," Lanzer said.

- Ceasefire deal in tatters -

The capture of Bentiu came two days before gunmen stormed a UN compound in an attack in which at least 58 people were killed, with peacekeepers fighting back to protect more than 5,000 civilians sheltering there whom the attackers had wanted to kill.

The UN Security Council said that attack on Thursday may "constitute a war crime".

The surge in fighting in the four-month conflict comes amid warnings by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that more than one million people are at risk of famine in the war-torn country.

The January ceasefire deal is in tatters, while peace talks in luxury hotels in Ethiopia have made little if any progress.

Bentiu is the first major settlement to have been retaken in a renewed offensive by Machar's forces, with the rebels saying Monday that fighting continued in Unity state.

They could not be contacted for comment on the reports of massacres.

The conflict in South Sudan, which won independence from Sudan only in 2011 and is the world's youngest nation, has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes.

The fighting has been marked by reports and allegations of atrocities by both sides, with ethnic massacres, child soldier recruitment and patients raped and murdered in hospitals by attacking forces.

The United States, the key backer of South Sudan's independence, has threatened targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violence.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

EU undermines its own development policies

Deutsche Welle, 20 April 2014

The EU is one of the largest donors of development aid, but these policies have not played much of a role in the European election campaign. Economic interests, meanwhile, are jeopardizing its effectiveness.


Euro rescue, the banking union, a reduction of bureaucracy and more power for the European Parliament: these topics have been dominating the European election campaign in Germany. The fact that the various parties aren't talking up the fight against poverty in Africa, promoting economic development in Asia or calling for the strengthening of democracy and human rights in Latin America seems, at first glance, logical. After all, they are the elected representatives of EU citizens.

"It is unfortunately the case that development policy plays a subordinate role in the voting decision," said Norbert Neuser, a member of European Parliament with the Social Democratic Party, and also part of the Parliament's Committee on Development. In recent years, the EU has achieved much with its development work in cooperation with Africa; the focus on the UN's Millennium DevelopmentGoals has led to measurable results.

Development work can curb migration

The objective of EU development aid is to promote good governance, along with human and economic development. This includes promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as contributing to the fight against hunger and poverty. According to the European Commission, efforts to contain migration are not among the stated objectives of the EU's development work.

Poverty and a lack of opportunities have
forced many to flee to Europe
However: development success can help ensure that people remain in their home countries. In Ethiopia, for example, the EU has devoted 200 million euros ($276.3 million) to road construction. As a result, people living in remote villages now have a faster and more secure route to larger cities, where they can sell their products on markets, which has reduced rural poverty significantly.

Contributing to development and the reduction of poverty in the developing countries of the South are therefore in Europe's best interest. After all, those who don't see a future at home end up leaving. Like the people on crowded refugee boats picked up by the Italian, Spanish and Greek coast guards, or the hundreds of people that have tried to reach European soil by scaling the fences surrounding the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Morocco.

Export subsidies ruining African farmers

More than half of world's official development assistance (ODA) comes from the EU and its member states, with a focus on cooperation with the so-called ACP countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Of the 79 ACP countries, many are former European colonies.

In the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, the EU pledged to a coherent policy when it comes to development. Accordingly, any European policy decisions in the areas of foreign relations, agriculture or economic expansion must not interfere with the objectives of development policy.

African farmers can hardly compete
with EU agricultural exports
The reality, however, is different. "On the one hand, the EU wants to do everything possible to fight poverty and hunger," said Christa Randzio-Plath, the vice president of the Association of German Development NGOS (VENRO). "On the other hand, they work against this development effort with food exports. What good is it to small farmers in Africa if their markets are flooded with cheap EU agricultural products?"

True, the EU subsidies for agricultural exports to Africa amounted only to 150 million euros this year. And in January, the EU commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development, Dacian Ciolos, announced that export subsidies would be eliminated entirely - without giving a specific timeline. In any case, the damage is already done: decades-long export subsidies for products like poultry, for example, have driven many African farmers to ruin.

Unequal partnership

It's not just agriculture that has been affected, as European fishing fleets cast their nets off the African coast."Fisheries agreements allow the EU to benefit from African fishing stocks, and not the local population," said Randzio-Plath.

The EU does pay compensation to states that give European fishing vessels access to their waters and fish stocks. Senegal, for example, receives about 16 million euros per year, Mozambique a little over 4 million and Mauritania, 86 million euros. But according to the World Wildlife Fund, the market value of these catches is usually significantly higher than the compensation. In addition, coastal fishermen also lose their livelihood.

After the EU fishing fleets have taken what
they need, not much is left for locals
MEP Neuser is also critical of the various economic partnership agreements that the EU is currently negotiating with the ACP states. "There is definitely a need for some counseling in this area, since the policies that we're negotiating there aren't very fair for the developing countries."

The EU has stated that partnership agreements are meant to encourage development in the ACP countries. But according to aid agencies, the opposite is the case. "In their current form, economic partnership agreements are far-reaching free trade agreements which mainly benefit European exporters."

The partnership agreements would require African countries to open their markets to European exports. They would also liberalize the service sector, allowing European investors to get involved in projects supplying services like drinking water, for example. But examples from other regions have shown this usually leads to price increases, without much improvement in quality.

Elites must take responsibility

But lack of coherent policy from the EU is only one side of the coin. The "failure of the elite" in many African countries cannot be pinned on Europe's development policies, said Neuser, giving the "negative example" of Nigeria. "It's a very rich country thanks to its oil reserves, but enormous amounts are disappearing and the elites are unbearably rich," he said.

The EU must "confront the elites floating on their oil fields and raking in the money," said Neuser. One way it could help would be to assist with the development of efficient tax systems. The EU could also contribute by closing its many tax havens, stemming the flight of capital from Africa.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ugandan men to go on trial on homosexuality charges

Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa face life imprisonment if found guilty in first such case since introduction of new anti-gay law

theguardian.com, Barbara Among in Kampala, Thursday 17 April 2014

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who signed a new anti-gay
law in February 2014. Photograph: Carl Court/PA

Two Ugandan men will go on trial next month accused of homosexuality, the first people to be charged since a controversial new anti-gay law was passed.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they had sufficient evidence against Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa, who denied the charges when they first appeared in court earlier this year. They have been held in Luziro prison in Kampala since December.

Mukisa, 24, a businessman, was charged with "having sexual knowledge of a person against the order of nature" and Mukasa, 19, with permitting a person to have sexual knowledge of him against the order of nature.

They are the first Ugandans to face trial on homosexuality charges, with an earlier case collapsing before it reached court and the majority of those arrested paying stiff fines to avoid prison.

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay law in February. It punishes first-time offenders with 14 years in jail and allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of "aggravated homosexuality".

Since the law was passed several donors have cut aid to Uganda, while others have diverted development support to projects that promote human rights.

Mukisa and Mukasa, however, have been charged under the 1950 Penal Code Act, which also prescribes life imprisonment if a person is found guilty of homosexual acts.

They are expected to defend themselves during the trial, which is scheduled to start on 7 May.

Related Article:


Ugandan President Praises North Korea Security Training

Naharnet - AFP, Naharnet Newsdesk, 17 April 2014


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has thanked North Korea for providing military training, reports said Thursday, dismissing those who criticize a security deal which included training police and special forces.

"There are people who are not happy with them, but I have not seen any problem with them," Museveni said Wednesday, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper, speaking at the passing out parade of almost 700 police officers trained by the North Koreans.

Museveni -- veteran head of the east African nation since 1986 -- also extended his "warm greetings" to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who succeeded his father to run the Stalinist state in 2011.

Uganda's police chief Kale Kayihura last week told Agence France Presse that reported United Nations investigations into the security deal would be "welcome", adding that the two nations "deal in a transparent way."

North Korean officers also trained Ugandan tank crews and special forces, Museveni said.

"I thank the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Museveni added, according to the report. "They always give us technical support."

Opposition parties criticize the police for blocking demonstrations and breaking up rallies with force when they defy orders not to march on the streets.

Earlier this month Uganda's police dropped the word "force" from their name in a bid to shed an image of brutality and corruption, although a spokesman said they stopped short of calling themselves a "service", for fear of being seen as going soft.

For the third year running, the Ugandan police this month topped the list of state agencies singled out for torture in the 2013 annual human rights report released by the state-funded Uganda Human Rights Commission.

Ugandan troops are fighting in Somalia against al-Qaida linked Shebab insurgents, as part of a U.N.-backed African Union force.

They are also fighting in neighboring South Sudan, backing government forces against rebel troops.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ethiopian government cancels anti-gay rally

Homosexuality 'not a serious crime' says government official, in country where gay sex punishable by 15 years in prison

TheGuardian, Associated Press, Wednesday 16 April 2014

Dark days for gay Africans. The Ethiopian government cancelled the anti-gay
rally but homophobia remains rife. Photograph: Stringer/Mexico/Reuters

A planned anti-gay rally in Ethiopia has been cancelled by the government, according to officials.

In addition, a plan by the legislature to add gay sex to a list of crimes ineligible for presidential pardons has been dropped, according to Redwan Hussein, an Ethiopian government spokesman.

Gay Ethiopians face severe penalties for living in the open. Same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.

But the government does not appear ready to further demonise homosexuals. Redwan said the anti-gay rally was on certain groups' agenda, but not the government's.

"It is not a serious crime," he said. "Plus, [homosexuality] is not as widespread as some people suggest. It is already a crime and a certain amount of punishment is prescribed for it. The government thinks the current jail term is enough," said Redwan, who confirmed that gay crimes would not be added to the list of unpardonable crimes.

Hostility toward gays across Africa is high. Uganda and Nigeria increased penalties against homosexual acts this year. Gay people in other countries face severe discrimination and harmful physical attacks.

Two groups had been planning to hold the rally in Addis Ababa on 26 April. Dereje Negash, chairman of a religious group affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, said the cancellation happened after the church had asked the government to prevent the rally.

"Currently I'm being threatened by the gay community for organising the rally. Despite the threat, I will continue to pursue my struggle against the gay community. I believe I have been given a task by God to do this. I will do this even if it means life or death," Dereje said.

Dereje said his group is not seeking the harassment of gay people, but he wants Ethiopian law to increase the punishment for gay sex.

Dereje said that gay sex tourism is increasing in the country and he wants it stopped. "We believe the gay people should be supported to get out of their bad life. We have helped hundreds of people to abandon gay acts so far," he said.

End of an era as Prince Bandar departs Saudi intelligence post

Prince's exit could signal shift in kingdom's policy towards Syria, with looming leadership transition complicating picture

The Guardian, Ian Black, Middle East editor, Wednesday 16 April 2014

Prince Bandar bin Sultan in 2008. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Prince Bandar bin Sultan's departure as head of Saudi intelligence, confirmed this week, marks the end of an era for a flamboyant and powerful character on the Middle Eastern stage. The big question is whether it signals a meaningful shift in the kingdom's policy towards Syria and its commitment to the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

Bandar – known as "Bandar Bush" from his 22 years as Saudi ambassador to the US – is a legendary networker and hawk. The Saudi press agency said he stepped down at his own request. (It did not say whether he would continue as head of the national security council, a less important position.) He will be replaced by his deputy at the Saudi equivalent of the CIA, Youssef bin Ali al-Idrisi, who is not a royal and therefore far less powerful.

For the past 18 months Bandar had led Saudi efforts to better co-ordinate the supply of weapons to Syrian rebels fighting Assad. But he faced criticism for backing extreme Islamist groups and thus risking a repeat of the "blowback" that brought Osama bin Laden's Saudi fighters home after the officially sanctioned jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Bandar's departure is not a complete surprise. Amid unprecedented tensions in relations between Riyadh and Washington, there had been signs he had fallen from favour and had in effect already been sidelined on Syria.

"Bandar's approach was very black and white," said one well placed observer. "And he seems to have over-promised to the king in terms of confidently predicting Assad's departure."

He was often abroad, reportedly being treated for health problems, or "unavailable" at home due to illness. He is also known to suffer badly from depression. Several months ago he failed to turn up for an urgently-scheduled meeting on Syria with David Cameron at Chequers.

According to sources in Riyadh, Bandar faced strong opposition from the powerful interior minister (and possible future king), Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who led the crackdown on al-Qaida following a wave of attacks between 2003 and 2006. Bin Nayef became increasingly concerned about battle-hardened young Saudis returning home radicalised after fighting in Syria. Bandar's removal probably reflects that policy divergence, western diplomats and Saudis say.

Bandar has irritated the Americans with outspoken criticism of Barack Obama's failure to punish Syria following the chemical weapons attack near Damascus last August. After that he talked of limiting interaction with the US in protest at its policies on Syria, Israel and especially the beginning of rapprochement with Iran – the latter an unchanging bogeyman and regional and sectarian rival for the Saudi prince. Bandar was also said by a senior Arab figure to have angrily threatened the emir of Qatar, which upstaged its larger neighbour in backing anti-Assad forces. His departure may help heal the rift between the US and the kingdom following last month's meeting between Obama and Abdullah. That, in turn, could impact on Saudi policy towards Syria.

Bandar, a former fighter pilot, is King Abdullah's nephew. He was close to presidents Reagan and both Bushes. He negotiated huge arms deals for the kingdom – including the infamous £43bn al-Yamamah agreement with the UK. The Guardian reported allegations that he had received £1bn in secret payments from BAE.

Known for his showy lifestyle – he has a penchant for cigars and flies in a private Airbus – he has kept a low profile since returning from the US to Riyadh in 2005. He became head of intelligence in July 2012. Apart from the Syria file, he was also closely involved in Saudi support for Egypt's military rulers after they ousted the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Saudi-watchers say decision-making in Riyadh is in poor shape. King Abdullah is 90 and frail, Crown Prince Salman is 78. Last month the appointment of a new deputy crown prince, Muqrin, a relative youngster at 68, again focused attention on the succession.

"The looming transition in Saudi leadership … may contribute to the uncertainty and opacity of the kingdom's foreign policy-making," said Yezid Sayigh, of the Carnegie Foundation. "Already highly personalised, decision-making may become further dispersed as multiple centres of princely power prepare to compete over the succession from King Abdullah."

Related Article:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Smart solar energy for Africa

Deutsche Welle, 15 April 2014

The Berlin-based Mobisol company is bringing power to places where there has been none. By combining mobile phone technology and solar power generators, the company aims to electrify African homes.


To get an office in the Friedrichshain area of Berlin is not easy. After a long search Mobisol managed to rent an office on the fourth floor at the back of an old factory building. From a hallway rooms branch off where employees sit in front of their computers. One room is used as a small workshop. The walls are full of photos showing African people: standing around small solar panels in their villages, installing solar panels on roofs of corrugated iron sheets, watching TV in a small room, listening to radios or working with laptops. They are photos of African customers and colleagues.

"They are there to remind us that we are providing a service to the people on the ground in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, who are selling our products there," said Thomas Duveau, one of Mobisol's strategic heads. There are about 30 employees at the company's headquarters in Berlin. They work in various departments from software development to administration.

Thomas Duveau is a strategic
planner at Mobisol
The real Mobisol product is not made in Berlin. The workshop in the German capital is used to try out new ideas. All solar panels and batteries are purchased in China and shipped directly to Africa. Mobisol's most important product is made by the Schwedt company in the German state of Brandenburg. It is a yellow plastic box, the size of a shoebox.

Inside the box there is the control facility for the solar power system and a mobile phone SIM card that connects the box with Berlin. The only requirement for the technology to work is a functioning mobile network. That can be found, for example, in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. 85 percent of people there have mobile phones but not all of them have electricity. They frequently use their mobile phones for money transfers. For many, the only way to charge the phones was by using diesel generators. "Our solar power systems enable people for the first time to produce power in their homes," said Duveau.

Performance on demand

The smallest of the simple yet robust sets of equipment delivers 30 watts. In just one hour it can be installed on a roof from where it provides light for up to three lamps, while also powering a radio and charging a cell phone. The largest plant produces 200 watts and can power a refrigerator as well as lighting several rooms, a stereo unit and a TV.

The Mobisol power box is simple and robust
In Germany, a family of four uses an average of 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In Tanzania, a family uses one tenth of that amount. Businesses, of course, consume more energy. In response to requests from entrepreneurs, Mobisol is currently developing a 600 watt system which can operate a small workshop.

Via the SIM card installed in the system, signals are received every hour in Berlin indicating whether the system is producing power. "If not then we send a text message request to one of our local partners, with the address of the customer, to quickly go there and check the status," Thomas Duveau told DW.

"That means we sometimes know before the customer that there is a problem with the system that needs to be fixed. That's a level of service that is quite rare in East Africa."

Customer service includes a toll-free hotline in the local language and the guarantee that a defect system will produce electricity again within 72 hours. 220 employees are working for Mobisol in East Africa, most of them in Tanzania. All were trained in their home country by German technicians.

One very important element for African customers is the micro-financing. Customers have three years to pay for the equipment. It then belongs to them. Depending on the size of the solar power system, they pay between seven and 33 euros ($9 to $45) per month. That is often less than they have been used to paying for kerosene lamps or diesel generators.

Mobisol has 220 employees in East Africa, all trained by German technicians

Payment models

Payments are made using mobile phones. 97 percent of the payments are transferred without any problem, said Thomas Duveau.

"Should a customer fail to pay an instalment, we have the ability to shut down the plant from Berlin, thanks to the SIM card incorporated in the system," he added. When that happens, the outstanding payment is usually quickly made and the equipment is turned back on again.

Regular payments are vital for the company's survival. During its first years, Mobisol received some funding from the European Union and from the German Reconstruction Credit Institute (KfW). 1,000 sets of equipment were financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Big plans for Rwanda

Judging by the age of the company and its employees, Mobisol is a startup.

Mobisol hopes to have 10,000
customers by the end of the year
Only three years ago, the first prototype of the solar power system was developed by three engineers in a garage in Berlin. The company started pilot projects in Tanzania and Kenya in 2012. In April 2013, the company made its first official sale.

Currently, the company has 3,000 customers and is expecting to have 10,000 by the end of this year. Thomas Duveau is confident that Mobisol could become Africa's largest energy supplier by 2020.

Currently, the company is negotiating with the Rwandan government which wants to provide 70 percent of the population with access to electricity by 2017. At the moment, this is only the case for 17 percent.

In Berlin, the company's strategists are currently considering how they can combine swift growth with good quality and service. Time is pressing - Mobisol has just received an enquiry from the World Bank asking if it can envisage large-scale production.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guinea Ebola outbreak under control

Yahoo – AFP, 14 April 2014

Members of the Guinean Red Cross post information concerning the
 Ebola virus during an awareness campaign on April 11, 2014 in Conakry
(AFP Photo/Cellou Binani)

Pretoria (AFP) - Guinea's Foreign Minister Francois Fall on Monday said the west African country has brought the spread of the deadly haemorrhagic Ebola virus under control after more than 100 people have died.

"We are pleased to say we have controlled the spread of the epidemic," Fall told reporters after a meeting his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Pretoria.

"We have even managed to cure some of those infected."

The outbreak is one of the most deadly, with 157 people infected and 101 deaths in Guinea alone.

"We benefitted from help from the international community to stop the spread of the epidemic," he said.

International aid organisations last week launched a series of emergency measures in Guinea and across west Africa in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus.

The outbreak began in the impoverished country's southern forests, but has spread to Conakry, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people.

Graphic fact file on the deadly Ebola virus (AFP Photo/Adrian
Leung/John Saeki)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described west Africa's first outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"It is the first time we have faced this epidemic," said Fall adding that despite acting "very quickly" to stem the tide of the epidemic, "sadly there were a hundred people dead."

Fall said strict measures are being taken to prevent it spreading. Everyone entering or leaving Guinea is checked for Ebola.

In neighbouring Liberia, there have been 21 cases, including 10 deaths.

The virus known as Zaire Ebola, has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in past outbreaks, and there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tunisia's Ben Ali's organized plunder

Deutsche Welle, 13 April 2014

The laws of Tunisia were tailored to suit the Ben Ali family, which siphoned off profits from the economy. A World Bank study shows how the ruler and his family enriched themselves.


More than one-fifth of the Tunisian private sector's profits went to the family of former dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. That is the result of a study entitled "All in the Family," published recently by the World Bank.

How can a dictator seize so much money? Similar structures exist all around the world, said World Bank economist Antonio Nucifora, one of the authors of the study.

The authors of the study analyzed 220 companies that were placed under state guardianship in January 2011. By focusing on the most profitable sectors, the members of the dictator's family managed to obtain 21 percent of private sector profits with only a 1 percent share of the investment.

Telecommunications, transport and real estate were in the hands of the family. They were able to set the prices at their own discretion, according to the study.

Decrees at

Antonio Nucifora says old
structures could return
"They created monopolies, which were highly profitable," Nucifoa said. The World Bank estimates the wealth of the Ben Ali family at the end of his rule at 13 billion dollars - more than a quarter of Tunisia's gross domestic product.

That happened to the expense of the population, who in their daily live often had no choice but to buy goods from "the family." "You can't really talk about illegal measures," Nucifora said. "Ben Ali and his family took advantage of the regulations that were in place."

For example, the 1993 investment law was tailored to the interests of the family, he said. Twenty-five decrees that made it difficult for other companies to enter the market were issued to benefit the ruler. The public was told that these measures would protect consumers.

A driving force for political change

The division of the society into two groups, a small elite able to enrich itself and the powerless masses, was ultimately a main reason for Ben Ali's overthrow in 2011, Nucifora said.

But the measures that enabled Ben Ali to enrich himself still exist in the country. Nucifora said it was therefore posssible for history to repeat.

The Tunisians revolted against the
Ben Ali regime in January 2011
But Wided Bouchamaoui, director of the Tunisian business association, said all successful companies should be suspect.

"Ben Ali is part of our history, and we have to accept this," she said, adding that it was now necessary to learn from the mistakes in the past.

'A general problem in the Arab world'

But these structures are not unique to Tunisia, Nucifora said. They also exist in other countries in the region, even though the population may have revolted against its rulers.

"That's a general problem in the Arab world," he said. "Nepotism and the elites who benefit from it exist in many countries around the globe. It's similar in Russia and Ukraine."

Nucifora said that the World Bank will publish - probably in June - another study about economic structures in the Arab world.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

US Marines headed to Chad park to fight poaching

Yahoo – AFP, 11 April 2014

Anti-poaching team patrols in Zakouma National Park, Chad, on
February 25, 2014 (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

Washington (AFP) - A small team of US Marines are to head soon to Chad's Zakouma National Park to train local forces in the fight against the poaching threatening the area's elephant herds.

Around 15 marines are to arrive in the Central African country by the end of April and will stay for around a month, a military official said.

The troops will train a group of approximately 100 rangers from the Chadian environment ministry's mobile brigade tasked with tracking poachers.

The marines will train the Chadian rangers on small unit tactics and patrolling, shooting and navigation.

"These skills will help prevent poaching, investigate incidents and pursue criminals," the Marine Corps said in a statement.

An increase in poaching in Zakouma has led to a sharp decline in the elephant population -- from 4,000 in 2005 to 450 just five years later -- according to the African Parks conservation group.

In February, authorities incinerated a ton of ivory confiscated from poachers in the park.

The price of a kilogram of ivory has surpassed $2,000 on the Asian black market, with demand constantly rising, according to several conservation groups.

Central African countries are exploited by vast poaching operations organized by armed groups which take advantage of gaps in border security, allowing illicit goods to pass from country to country.

According to a 2013 report from the World Wildlife Fund, at about $19 billion a year, poaching has become the world's fourth largest illegal market, after drugs, fake currency and human trafficking.

The marines sent to Chad will come from a special unit assigned to the NATO base in Signoella, Italy. The Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force conducts cooperation missions in Africa.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mozambique considers law to fight big game poaching

Yahoo – AFP, 10 April 2014

Kobus De Wet, an environmental crime investigator, walks past the carcass
 of a three-day-old rhinoceros killed by poachers at Houtboschrand in the
 southern part of Kruger National Park, northeastern South Africa, on
November 27, 2013 (AFP Photo)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Mozambique is considering a new law to fight poaching, as the number of rhinos killed so far this year in neighbouring South Africa reached 277, a minister said Wednesday.

The proposed Conservation Areas Law will impose a prison sentence of up to 12 years, as well as a $90,000 (65,000 euros) fine for poachers of endangered species, including rhino and elephant.

Under the current laws, wildlife poaching is not considered a crime in Mozambique, where a large number of rhino poachers at South Africa's vast Kruger National Park are said to come from.

Buyers of smuggled horns often get away with small fines.

Mozambican authorities last year said illegal hunters had wiped out rhino populations, with ivory poaching in the remote northern part of the country also on the rise.

Tourism Minister, Carvalho Muaria said the bill, which was introduced to parliament on Wednesday came after "increased pressure by game poachers, whose main targets are African elephant and rhinoceros".

South Africa's Kruger National Park, which boarders Mozambique has over the past years borne the brunt of rhino poaching.

This year, more than half of the attacks of the endangered species in the first three months of the year occurred in the park, where 166 animals were killed, despite the deployment of troops to protect them, figures released on Wednesday showed.

Authorities say hunters often kill the giant animals inside the heavily-guarded reserve and then escape with their hacked-off horns to Mozambique, where they are then exported around the world, often to Asia.

The crisis has seen the two countries sign a memorandum of understanding to the scourge of rhino poaching.

"South Africa recognises the need for engaging with Mozambique on wildlife management," the environmental affairs ministry said in a statement.

"The conclusion of the agreement comes as the number of rhino poached in South Africa since the start of 2014 increased to 277."

Illegal rhino killings in South African parks continue despite the introduction of air and foot patrols, as well as increased numbers of rangers assisted by troops.

So far 32 people have been arrested for poaching related incidents, but authorities could not give the number of cases that had been successful prosecuted.

In 2013, over 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa, fuelled by a demand for their horns in Asian countries, where they are believed to have medicinal properties.

In February, conservation groups announced that they will move 100 rhinos to neighbouring Botswana for safekeeping.